School: Meredith College
Hometown: White Oak, NC
Born in Mexico and raised in White Oak, North Carolina, Maria Lopez Gonzalez is a junior at Meredith College. Outside of the classroom, she works for Student Action with Farmworkers as their Operations Manager, volunteers for Legal Aid’s Farmworker Unit and is a member of the Community Leadership Council at El Pueblo. Before Meredith College, Maria attended West Bladen High School where she was part of the Student Government helping organize community service events such as food drives for local food shelters, and participating in Youth Legislative Assembly where she served as a Co-chair on bills advocating for in-state tuition equity for undocumented students. Passionate about the intersectionality of issues affecting people of color, undocumented immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ community, Maria is an advocate of in-state tuition equity working with organizations such as El Pueblo and Student Action with Farmworkers to lobby for this issue. She has also been a member of EP’s Community Leadership Council where she advocates for issues affecting Latinx communities in North Carolina with a cohort of other Latina women. Maria also volunteers with Legal Aid’s Farmworker Unit as a Witness for Justice helping reach farmworkers all across the state in raising awareness of their rights and resources available. Maria hopes to one day run for political office to represent the Latinx community, open her own business, and write a book about her mom’s immigration story in order to advocate for more representation and raise awareness of her community.